The Rules in Rome
With Hitler’s forces firmly entrenched in Europe, countless heroes seek to end the madman’s reign. Bastien Ley is one of the best. Working in Italy for the Office of Strategic Services, he’s been tasked with sabotaging German convoys. When his team kills an officer headed for Rome, the man’s similarity to Bastien is undeniable, and seeing an opportunity to turn the tide of the war, Bastien makes a bold decision: he will assume the dead officer’s identity. He becomes Dietrich, an Iron Cross–wearing German officer—an ideal position from which to infiltrate the Nazi ranks in Rome. To help with his stressful assignment, his superiors send him a reinforcement in the form of the lovely Gracie Begni, an intelligent and eager radio operator with absolutely no undercover experience.
With a gulf of resentment between them, these two agents must find a way to portray a couple in love. Soon their reluctant alliance becomes much more as Bastien and Gracie find themselves getting lost in their feelings for each other. But as they engage in battle against the deadliest foe the world has ever known, the pair quickly realizes their love may be doomed. As the Rome Gestapo threatens to destroy all they’ve worked for, will Bastien and Gracie survive their charade?
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“Everything about you screams wholesome religious American. Have you even been kissed before?”
Gracie ran her left thumb along the inside of her ring finger. There wasn’t a ring there, not anymore. “Yes, I’ve been kissed before, Captain Ley. But I don’t see how that’s any of your business.”
Ley stood and walked over to her, holding a hand out. She took his hand and let him pull her to her feet. “Let me guess. Something like this?” He leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers for a few brief moments.
When he pulled away, she could still feel the imprint of his mouth. Surprised but remembering his question, she nodded. Ley’s kiss had been a lot like Michael’s: soft, sweet, and affectionate.
“In Italy, if you’re pretending to be my girlfriend, I’ll be kissing you often but not like that. Like this.”
He slipped one hand to the back of her neck, the other to her waist, and pulled her close for another kiss. She was startled at first but soon realized she didn’t want to resist. His lips were insistent and inviting, making her heart race. She was glad when Ley’s hand moved from her waist to the center of her back, because her legs were starting to feel unstable. She wanted to fall into him, into his kiss. The way he maneuvered his mouth over hers was making her lose all sense of place and time, and she found herself wishing he’d never stop. When he began to pull away, she wanted to lean her head on his chest and catch her breath, but then she remembered she’d just met Ley and wasn’t even sure she liked him.
She took a step back, staring at him, wondering what had just happened.
“You see, that won’t do at all,” Ley said. “The Gestapo will be all over you. You’re acting like you’ve never been kissed before.”
Gracie sat on the sofa, her eyes still fixed on Ley. She hadn’t ever been kissed like that.
Praise for The Rules in Rome
Readers who hunger for a great espionage thriller with an extra helping of romance will devour The Rules in Rome. A.L. Sowards is at the top of her craft with this terrific WWII suspense novel. It is definitely a book not to be missed!
Gregg Luke, author of Bloodborne and Deadly Undertakings
The Rules in Rome has it all. Romance, adventure, and epic themes illustrating the unconquerable human spirit. From the moment Gracie met Bastien, I knew I would love this book. He’s the perfect hero, Gracie is his match. I fell in love with these characters over and over again. Thank you, Sowards, for another fabulous read!
Stephanie Fowers, author of the Twisted Tales Trilogy and Jane and Austen
A.L. Sowards has always been fascinated by the 1940s, but she’s grateful she didn’t live back then. She doesn’t think she could have written a novel on a typewriter, and no one would be able to read her handwriting if she wrote her books out longhand. She does, however, think they had the right idea when they rationed nylon and women went barelegged.
Sowards grew up in Moses Lake, Washington. She graduated from BYU and ended up staying in Utah, where she enjoys spending time with her husband and children or with her laptop. She does not own a typewriter. She does own several pairs of nylons.
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